Carrying out procedures face to face with the Spanish Administration (in the field of foreign affairs) in the midst of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic is, at present, impossible. This situation has caused a lot of damage. Many of the procedures, although not all, have been presented via telematics.

However, once the confinement is lifted, there is a likelihood of a collapse in the Civil Registry Offices and Aliens' Offices due to lack of personnel, which could lead to long waits and multiple consequences.

In order to facilitate the reincorporation and adaptation of public employees to the process of de-confinement, the Spanish Government and the trade unions have just sealed an important agreement.

This past Monday, May 4, by electronic means, the Minister of Territorial Policy and Public Function, Carolina Darias, and the trade unions CSIF, UGT, CCOO and CIG, have signed an important agreement that will facilitate the opening of the Administration Offices to the public on May 25.

The agreement includes a set of organisational measures that must be applied to begin the gradual reincorporation of all civil servants in the General State Administration as part of the de-escalation process announced by the Government.

Within the framework of the Transition Plan to the New Normalcy, the administration offices may be open until 9 p.m. and the public will be served by appointment and capacity will be limited.

The Ministry of Territorial Policy and the Civil Service has considered it a priority to guarantee the health of public employees. To this end, it has agreed with the trade unions on a series of organisational measures to ensure that services are provided safely in accordance with the recommendations of the health authorities.

"The Administration offices will be open to the public from May 25th, coinciding with the 'Phase II' of de-climbing, with previous appointment and limited capacity, and the offices may be open until 21:00 hours", according to Europa Press.

However, CSIF sources mentioned by Europa Press, say they will be "vigilant in ensuring compliance with security measures for public employees and citizens".

According to Europa Press, the Secretary General of the FSC-CCOO in the area of Public Service, José Manuel Vera, has stressed that the text of the agreement "significantly" improves the measures for the prevention of occupational risks and health protection. However, he understands that the trade union's work does not end with the signing of the agreement, but that "it will be necessary to convene the delegated committees beforehand to specify and resolve some issues that have been left pending in order to adapt the resolution to specific areas".

Next, we would like to review with you what procedures we consider can be started in STAGE-1 at the end of the state of alert:

Response to requests for nationality files by residence.

Fortunately, the response to requests can be made without problems through the Electronic Headquarters of the Ministry of Justice, Redsara, and on the nationality platform itself.

However, any attempt to respond to a request for additional documentation related to a nationality file through a Civil Registry Office will be very limited, which is why we recommend that you call your local Civil Registry office to see if they are starting to be operational. It is also not recommended that you do this via postal mail.

On the other hand, if your Spanish citizenship file is an old process, all requirements will be notified through the Civil Registry, and it is more than likely that you will not be attended without an appointment.

Presentation of new files of Spanish citizenship by residence.

Similar to what has been done throughout the state of alarm, the possibility of presenting new files of Spanish nationality through the telematic platform of the Ministry of Justice will be maintained, with a digital certificate, either by the applicant himself or with the assistance of a lawyer (recommended option).

The presentation of new Spanish citizenship files through Public Registries of Government Delegations or Sub-delegations, Ministry of Justice or other registers of local corporations or autonomous communities will probably be limited by capacity to these bodies, to avoid contagion.

Although it is rarely used, there is also the possibility of submitting the file by post. However, this alternative is not advisable because it implies long waiting times for the assignment of a file number.

Presentación de solicitudes de nacionalidad española por opción.

Las limitaciones de aforo, la anulación de las citas en las Oficinas de Registro Civil durante los meses de Marzo, Abril e incluso parte de Mayo implicará enormes complicaciones para todas las personas que deseen iniciar un proceso de solicitud de nacionalidad exclusivamente a través del Registro Civil, como por ejemplo: Nacionalidad por Opción o Nacionalidad por Posesión de Estado. 

En el mejor de los casos, desde nuestro punto de vista, se podrá conseguir una cita, pero aún será extremadamente difícil conseguirla porque en las Oficinas de Registros Civiles es muy probable que no experimenten una normalidad completa en la atención al público durante los primeros estadios del proceso de desconfinamiento, y sea pospuesto para fases posteriores. Habrá que estar muy pendientes.

Presentation of applications for Spanish nationality by option.

Capacity limitations, the cancellation of appointments in the Civil Registry Offices during the months of March, April and even part of May will imply enormous complications for all persons who wish to start a nationality application process exclusively through the Civil Registry, such as: Nationality by Option or Nationality by State Possession.

In the best case scenario, from our point of view, an appointment will be possible, but it will still be extremely difficult to get one because in the Civil Registry Offices it is very likely that they will not experience a complete normality in the attention of the public during the first stages of the deconfinement process, and it will be postponed for later phases. We will have to be very vigilant.

Oaths for Spanish citizenship by residence

According to an analysis in the newspaper El Independiente, the coronavirus crisis has caused a significant impact on the processes of acquiring Spanish citizenship by residence, due to the impossibility of being able to take the oath in person at the Civil Registry.

At present, there had already been a 6-7 month wait in some civil registries, before the state of alarm was declared. Will it be feasible to take the oath of Spanish nationality during the deconfinement? Taking the oath is the last step required to obtain Spanish citizenship, once the resolution granting it has been received. Thousands of people have been asking themselves this question since March 14, when all civil registries in Spain suspended the oath.

In our opinion, the main question is: will the Civil Registry Offices be able to open to the public in compliance with all the health guarantees that are required?

From May 11, supposedly, it will be possible to take the oath for Spanish citizens in the civil registries in person and in compliance with the rules of social distancing, in those civil registries that are open to the public. However, achieving this purpose, in the end, will depend on each particular office.

We consider that it is important to emphasize that, during the first phase of de-escalation, agglomerations or queues of any kind are not allowed. Therefore, it is very likely that only persons with an appointment will be able to continue with their procedures, but it is also very likely that there will be a limitation to the maximum in the granting of appointments for new acts of incorporation.